US 20080155523 A1
Methods and systems to include transformation nodes in a business system are provided. A transformation node may provide controlled redundancy of data within the business object hierarchy. Transformation nodes may store data from core nodes without persistency, and permit different data presentation modes than for the core nodes. When a service call is placed to a transformation node, the transformation node may call corresponding services from associated core nodes.
1. A method of updating information displayed in a user interface, comprising:
responsive to a request for properties describing a transformation node, requesting properties describing a core node associated with the transformation node;
responsive to receiving properties of the core node, mapping the properties of the core node to properties of the transformation node;
performing an exit operation to modify data to be sent to the user interface;
sending the properties of the transformation node to the user interface; and
updating the user interface element associated with the transformation node to display the new information.
2. The method of
3. The method of
4. The method of
5. A system for accessing a business management system, comprising:
a model-driven user interface to construct user interface elements based on services exposed by nodes;
a plurality of core nodes, each core node exposing a service of a backend application;
a transformation node derived from a first of the plurality of core nodes; and
an enhancement layer of the transformation node to provide modification data associated with elements of the user interface.
6. The system of
7. The system of
8. A machine-readable medium containing program instructions for execution on at least one processor, which when executed by the processor cause the processor to perform:
responsive to a first request generated from a first model-driven user interface, sending the first request to a transformation node associated with the first interface;
selecting a core node associated with the transformation node;
defining a second request based on the first request and the core node;
performing an exit operation to modify the second request;
sending the second request to the core node;
executing the second request; and
updating the first user interface to reflect changes resulting from execution of the second request.
9. The machine-readable medium of
10. The machine-readable medium of
Computer-based business systems often contain many business objects to store data and perform business functions. Each business object may expose one or more services to a user interface, such as services to create or update entities managed by the business object. For example, a business object for storing and manipulating purchase orders may expose services allowing for the creation of new purchase orders, modification of previously-created purchase orders, and other similar functions. The services exposed by a business object may be represented as a hierarchy of nodes.
Business objects are designed to be redundancy-free so that specific content, such as an address, telephone number, etc., only occurs once in the business object. A user interface can discover the services available from various business objects and applications by querying a service layer. The service layer interacts with business objects to identify what services are available for each business object, and returns information about the services to the user interface. Model-driven user interfaces therefore do not include functionality coded therein; instead, all functionality in the user interface is derived from the service layer and business objects. When a service is invoked via the user interface, service providers in the backend applications implement the appropriate service.
Although this structure permits the user interface to reflect the structure of each business object, it does not allow for structural differences between the user interface and the backend database or business object. That is, since the user interface renders data only as presented by the business object, it does not allow for variations in the presentation of data and services. For example, model-driven interfaces generally are unable to display the same data in multiple formats, and it may be difficult to present highly-sophisticated user interfaces since the rendered data must be directly related to the services exposed by each business object. In some circumstances it also may be desirable to perform operations that are not explicitly defined by a core element of a business object before or after activation of an associated user interface element.
The present invention provides systems and methods to include “transformation nodes” in a business system. A transformation node may provide controlled redundancy of data within the business object hierarchy. Transformation nodes may be flagged or otherwise designated in the business object to distinguish them from “core nodes.” Core nodes store data elements and functions on which the business processes rely. Transformation nodes may store data from core nodes without persistency, and permit different data presentation modes than for the core nodes. A transformation node may also have associated services in the backend application. However, when a service is invoked, the service for the transformation node may call corresponding services from associated core nodes, which perform the requested operations.
In some applications, it may be desirable to have a certain amount of redundancy in the user interface. For example, it may be useful to provide alternate interfaces for a user to enter the same data, such as a date or date range. In a standard model-driven user interface, the user is only presented with fields corresponding to database entries. A transformation node may allow this sort of redundancy in the user interface, without requiring corresponding redundancy in the backend databases or business objects. For example, where the same information is to be displayed in multiple ways in the user interface, the information can be displayed using transformation nodes instead of being stored in multiple forms and later displayed via a standard model-driven user interface.
Transformation nodes may avoid inconsistencies in the user interface or stored data that could result from this controlled redundancy by synchronizing the various redundant interfaces created by the transformation nodes. The same data and services may be displayed simultaneously on multiple user interfaces. When data is updated or a service called in one interface, the transformation nodes are notified. The transformation nodes can then send notifications to other user interfaces displaying the same data and/or services, instigating a refresh of the information displayed in each interface. Information therefore may be consistently displayed across all appropriate user interfaces.
In an embodiment, service requests may be made via core nodes or transformation nodes. For example, a user interface might include an element that exposes a service of a core node, and an element that exposes a service of a transformation node. When a user generates a request using a user interface element, the request is sent to the node associated with the interface element used to generate the request.
The user interface 170 may access the backend applications 150 via a service layer 160. Each business object in the system may be associated with one or more services, represented in
A transformation node 100 may present different services and user interface functionality than the core nodes 151-157. The services and functionality exposed by the transformation node 100 are based on and associated with services exposed by specific core nodes 151, 155, 157. When the transformation node 100 receives a request to a service implemented by the transformation node, the request is translated and/or redirected to the appropriate services implemented by the core nodes 151, 155, 157. The transformation node 100 may be embedded in or otherwise include an enhancement layer 101. The enhancement layer 101 may serve as the runtime environment for the transformation node 101. An enhancement layer may augment services exposed by a core node to further support the use of transformation nodes. As described in further detail below, an enhancement layer may perform pre- and post-exit operations. The pre- and post-exit operations may invoke logic within a transformation node, which may then redirect service calls to the related core nodes 151, 155, 157.
Because a transformation node is a business object node, a user interface need not distinguish between the transformation node and a standard core node. The transformation node can thus expose data and services in a way that can be used by the user interface. Based on the services exposed by the selected core nodes, the transformation node may create services to be exposed to the user interface. These services may be direct “copies” of the original core node services (i.e., data will be passed directly through the transformation node service to the original service). The services may also be “new” services created by the transformation node, that can pass requests on to one or more core node services. The requests may be passed directly, or they may be modified before being passed to the core services. Similarly, the transformation node can select and combine various data stored in the business object. A service exposed by a transformation node may be referred to as a transformation service.
Interface information is provided to the user interface by a transformation node, which allows the user interface to present the data and call the services created in the transformation node. In general, the user interface does not distinguish between the data and services provided by a transformation node and those provided by a core node. The transformation node includes the logic and rules to map between transformation node services and core node services. For example, in
An example of user interface elements generated from a core node and transformation nodes is shown in
A second user interface element 350 may be associated with a transformation node 320. The transformation node 320 may retrieve data and services from the appropriate core node 310. An interface element 350 may then be constructed in the user interface based on the services and data provided by the transformation node 320. The element constructed from the transformation node may provide a different presentation mode than the element constructed from the core node. In the example shown, an employee may enter a leave request by selecting the day on which the leave is to begin, such as “Next Monday,” “Next Friday,” etc., and the duration of the leave in weeks and days. The transformation node 320 includes logic to map between the start and end date values stored in the business object and the values shown in the interface.
Other presentation modes may be used. As another example, a second transformation node 330 allows for a “date selection” calendar 360 to be displayed in the user interface. Thus, instead of typing in the dates of a leave request as required in the core node interface 340 or selecting the leave request times as shown in the first transformation node interface 350, an employee may select the dates from a calendar.
When the interfaces in
As a specific non-limiting example, pre- and post exits can be used within a “Purchase Contract” business object which contains a node “Item Price Specification” that models an item's price conditions. Each instance of such a node may model one price condition such as the base price or a discount amount. This modeled data may be quite complicated, preventing a simple overview from being presented to a user. A transformation node “Current Valid Base Price” may model a view of the price specification node instances. This node can be called as a post-exit operation performed on the price specification node instance. For example, the transformation node instance may directly create an “Item Price Specification.” If the transformation node is changed, it can then change the price specification. Similarly, if the price specification is changed it can send change notifications to a service consumer. Within the post exit of the corresponding core change service the transformation node may listen for such a notification and create a change notification to notify the UI about the changes. Without this notification the UI may only load the changed data of the price specification and not the implicitly changed transformation node data.
To prevent data errors and/or redundancy in the business system, the transformation node may provide mechanisms for synchronizing the two interface elements. For example, in the user interface shown in
The transformation node may act as an intermediary between the core nodes of a business object and the user interface. The transformation node can select various data and services to expose to the user interface based on user input.
Since transformation nodes may introduce controlled redundancy in a user interface, there may be transformation nodes in the system which should be updated based on the service executed by the core node 530. The service layer 520 may send a notification 522 to each transformation node 540 after a core node executes a service. The transformation node may then identify which core node or nodes have changed. If the transformation node should be updated as a result of the service request, the transformation node may send a change notification 541 to the service layer. Finally, the service layer may notify 523 the user interface of which nodes should be refreshed due to completion of the service request. The user interface can then request updated data from changed nodes. Examples of the user interface refresh process are described in further detail below. An enhancement layer 550 may perform various pre- and post-exit operations 545, 547, respectively. For example, before a call 521 to a core node, a pre-exit operation 545 may be performed by the enhancement layer. The pre-exit operation may result in data being returned 555 to the transformation node. The enhancement layer may also call other services, such as services provided by other core nodes or other service layers (not shown). When a pre- or post-exit operation is performed, data may be returned 555, 557 to the transformation node. In general, the operations performed by the enhancement layer may augment or otherwise be related to the services exposed by the transformation node. The pre- and post-exits shown in
The core node may execute the service or services requested by the transformation node 631, and return a change notification 632 to the transformation node. In an embodiment, the core node 530 performs the same regardless of whether it receives a request from a service layer or a transformation node 540, and therefore the change notification 632 is returned as if the request had been made by the service layer 520. When it receives change notifications from the core nodes, the transformation node may send a change notification 642 to the service layer. The user interface 510 may then be updated appropriately.
Before rendering fields related to services, the user interface must retrieve properties of the fields from the appropriate nodes. The user interface may also retrieve information from nodes to update displayed information after a service has been executed.
To retrieve properties of fields from a transformation node a similar process may be used, as shown in
In an embodiment, core nodes, transformation nodes, and their respective service providers within the service layer may be implemented separately. Such separation may reduce or eliminate the potential negative impact of the redundancy introduced by use of a transformation node.
Although the present invention has been described with reference to particular examples and embodiments, it is understood that the present invention is not limited to those examples and embodiments. The present invention as claimed therefore includes variations from the specific examples and embodiments described herein, as will be apparent to one of skill in the art.